Oklahoma City Thunder’s General Manager Sam Presti had quite the eye for spotting the best talents. In the early days of the newly re-located team, he landed Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and James Harden on the same team. These young stars proved to be a significant influence on the squad and built incredible chemistry with one another. Their unique camaraderie even translated to off-court shenanigans, which once led to James Harden almost ending up in a fight with 5’9″ point guard Nate Robinson.
The OKC looked like a championship-contender with the Big 3 combination of KD, Westbrook, and Harden. Before Harden’s departure in 2012, they had made it to the NBA Finals that very year. Although the team was edged out 1-4 in the series by the Miami Heat, they still proved to be a promising contender for the title with the talent pool in the team. Harden’s departure to the Houston Rockets started the downfall of the Thunders’ Big 3. Eventually, KD also left the team in 2016, seeking a championship ring in Golden State, marking an end to Oklahoma’s golden era.
James Harden once nearly fought 3x slam dunk champion Nate Robinson
Nate Robinson had a brief stint with the Oklahoma City Thunders before being waived by the team in 2011. During his stint with the Thunder, the three-time slam dunk champion had once found a way to get on James Harden’s nerves by hiding his car keys.
Robinson even took Harden’s car out for a ride and placed it in a car wash. When the Beard figured his car keys were missing, he was furious and was prepared to fight Nate Robinson for the prank. KD hilariously described this incident during a podcast appearance, a clip of which was posted on Instagram by NotYourAverage_NBA. The Slim Reaper recounted the whole story somewhat like this:
“I remember one time James Harden got so mad. We had Nate Robinson on our team. They used to always play around. We all at practice, we wondering where Nate at. Nate runs in James’ car, drives his car all the way around the corner, parked it at the car wash.
Ain’t tell nobody, he taking pictures, ghost riding this joint on top of the hood. Ain’t tell nobody. We walked into the locker room , James like ‘Yo where my keys at?’ He’s steaming, ready to fight Nate almost. It was hilarious.”
The other members in the locker room quickly resolved the fight, with Harden and Robinson finding a resolution. Kevin Durant still remembers this story as one of the more fun memories of playing alongside James Harden. KD and Harden once again reunited in 2021, when the 2018 MVP joined the Brooklyn Nets for a brief stint.
Kevin Durant and James Harden would reunite only for Harden to leave again
NBA fans were again excited to see KD and Harden’s duo together when the 10-time All-Star joined the Brooklyn Nets in 2021. With Harden joining, there was another expectation of a Big 3 forming between KD, Harden, and Kyrie Irving. Although the team was ‘theoretically’ expected to be one of the best in the league, the Nets’ sails never really caught wind.
The trio played 16 games together and won only one playoff series. Eventually, Harden demanded a trade in 2022, leaving for the Philadelphia 76ers. Since then, KD and Kyrie have also left the Nets, with the former joining the Phoenix Suns and the latter joining Dallas Mavericks in 2023.